BCS beefs up top IT professional qualifications

UK IT professionals are going to have a new benchmark in IT excellence, with the relaunch and beefing up of the Chartered IT Professional (CITP) qualification.

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UK IT professionals are going to have a new benchmark in IT excellence, with the relaunch and beefing up of the Chartered IT Professional (CITP) qualification.

The updated CITP is a centre piece of today’s relaunch of the British Computer Society as BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

A though new assessment process for the CITP is a direct response to demands from industry and government for deeper expertise and business acumen among IT professionals.

The latest version of Chartered status will validate IT professionals’ competence, with successful applicants being required to undertake a revalidation process every five years.

David Clarke, the BCS Chief Exec who launched the BCS professionalism in IT programme in 2002, said, “Our clear aspiration for Chartered IT Professional status is that it should be of a similar status to other chartered designations, such as accountancy.

“The process of accreditation should therefore be rigorous and there must be mechanisms for periodic revalidation. Holders must have a breadth of knowledge across the whole of IT as well as competence in their own specialism. Achieving Chartered status should show that holders really understand the business and add value through the use of technology.”

To attain the qualification, applicants must be senior practitioners with a broad technical knowledge, and the ability to demonstrate business experience, commercial accountability and competence in their individual IT specialism(s).

Applicants need to have eight to ten years experience with at least three of the last five years in a complex IT role requiring business insight, said the BCS. Professionals will also need to demonstrate competence in their chosen specialism(s) and interpersonal skills via an online interview with expert assessors.

The move to beef up standards has been welcomed by IT leaders in business. Adam Banks, senior vice-president of the Technology Office at Visa International said, “By steadily increasing the expectations of Chartered status, BCS lets practitioners show they possess the knowledge, experience, integrity and dedication that are so vital to the IT profession.”

Fin Goulding, CIO at lastminute.com, said, “(Our) decision to support the BCS's drive for increased professionalism in the IT industry is important not just for us as a business but for the future of IT as a profession. lastminute.com believes that the changes the BCS is undertaking will not only help champion the visibility of the IT profession but hopefully it will inspire technologists at all levels, from all sectors around the world.”

Support from the public sector came from Lesley Hume, Cabinet Office CIO and Director of the Government IT Profession, who said, “The technical and professional skills required in the modern information society are more demanding than ever, and the Government IT Profession is delighted to see the BCS setting such high standards.”

Existing CITP holders will be unaffected by these changes and will retain their current status.

The initiative to introduce the latest Chartered standard comes as part of a package of changes BCS is introducing including:

  • The intention to create a new Academy of Computing to create an integrated and coherent approach to advancing IT and Computing across education, research and business.
  • A strategy for international expansion which will see BCS extending its global reach and offering its qualifications to new countries including the Asia Pacific region, Germany and Spain
  • New benefits for members and BCS Groups, including a new member networking facility
  • A new BCS web site with increased functionality for BCS members, academics and the general public
  • A revised job site, BCSrecruit.com, and other career development tools designed to help members boost their job prospects
  • A new corporate identity, which sees BCS add the attribution ‘The Chartered Institute for IT’

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